Adherence to Oral Oncolytics Requires a Clinically Integrated Approach to Specialty Pharmacy
The fast-growing oncology drug pipeline has produced a number of new oral therapies meant, in part, to make treatment more convenient and manageable for patients.
Yet, despite the severity of their illness and the potential efficacy of a therapy, many patients fail to adhere to their specific treatment instructions. Adherence rates dip as low as 20% in some studies,1 indicating that many patients fail to receive the full benefits of their prescribed treatment. Although solutions exist to help patients navigate barriers to adherence, in order to address the problem on a large scale, health care providers-including physicians, oncologists, and specialty pharmacists-must leverage their collective resources and expertise to work together.
The oral oncolytics market grew significantly in recent years and now comprises about 25% of cancer medication therapies.2 That percentage is projected to increase, as the FDA approves 1 new oral oncolytic every 4 months.3 Unlike infused oncology regimens, which require patients to travel to a physician's office or infusion centers, oral therapies enable patients to take their treatment at home.
However, the added convenience also shifts more responsibility to the patient, requiring compliance with specific instructions without the supervision of, or face-to-face interaction with, providers. Similar to other cases of nonadherence, a variety of reasons drive patients to become noncompliant with treatment instructions.
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1. Patient Adherence to Oral Cancer Therapies: A Nursing Resource Guide | Oncolink - Cancer Resources. Oncolinkorg. 2016. Available at: http://www.oncolink.org/resources/article.cfm?c=424&id=7058. Accessed April 20, 2016.
2. Oral oncolytics: assessing value of newer agents versus current standards of care as part of P&T processes. Formulary Journal. 2016. Available at: http://formularyjournal.modernmedicine.com/formulary-journal/content/tags/cancer/oral-oncolytics-assessing-value-newer-agents-versus-current-st. Accessed April 20, 2016.
3. Colleen Powell C. Financial Savings from On-Site Dispensing of Oral Chemotherapies. Theoncologynursecom. 2013. Available at: http://www.theoncologynurse.com/jhop-issue-archive/2013-issues/september-2013-vol-3-no-3/15966-financial-savings-from-on-site-dispensing-of-oral-chemotherapies. Accessed April 20, 2016.